Articles + Awards ─── August 31, 2023

Sustainable Architecture in the Wild: Three Examples of Eco-Architecture

Understanding the role that architecture plays in the climate crisis is one of the main focuses of our practice at Berry Architecture.

Members of the Berry Architecture team stand in front of their head office in Red Deer, just one example of the firm's expertise in sustainable architecture.

Understanding the role that architecture plays in the climate crisis is one of the main focuses of our practice at Berry Architecture. From small changes to large-scale innovations and certifications, finding the right way to align your building with your sustainability goals is one of our specialties – but there’s more than one way to lower your carbon footprint. Here are three times Berry used our sustainable design services for a greener future you can walk through every day. 

1. The first 100% privately-funded building to achieve LEED Gold in Alberta: The Berry Architecture Head Office

Did you know that our head office in Red Deer, AB is actually a former bowling alley in the city centre? Not only was this reimagination a chance to transform a 1950s-era building, but a chance to live into our beliefs around sustainability. The building checks many green architecture boxes for us, including:

  • Electrical and mechanical systems designed explicitly for environmental sustainability including water collection and reuse, energy conservation, energy collection, and heat recovery.

  • The high-efficiency boilers supplement roof-top solar collectors for domestic hot water.

  • Electrical components use indirect lighting, energy-efficient fixtures, and motion sensors.

  • An award-winning green roof containing 95% local plants that also controls heat island effects and captures grey water. 

  • LEED Gold Certified.

2. Where learning meets innovation: Westpark Middle School

More than an academic institution, Westpark Middle School, also in Red Deer, incorporates learning through the building design. Collaborating with a large and diverse design committee, Berry Architecture was able to complete this LEED Gold Certified building in 2019 while the former building was still operational, avoiding disruption to the student’s learning. Today, the school benefits from unique partnerships with the City of Red Deer and Red Deer Polytechnic, among other community groups. 

Some of the energy-efficient systems for the building include a large solar array on the roof and sides of the building, three solar trees on the ground to capture solar energy, and a solar chimney. This creative solar array is also available for students to view under supervision for use in science classes. 

3. The magic of repurposing: Homeland Housing Foundation Corporate Office

There’s more than one way to help the planet when it comes to sustainable architecture. While LEED certifications and solar panels are catchy ways to make your building easier on the environment, repurposing old buildings has a whole host of green benefits. It’s applying the three Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—to buildings used daily. 

The Homeland Housing Foundation corporate office in Morinville, AB, was created from a decommissioned school. Maintaining the shell and structural elements of the building reduces the project’s carbon footprint by keeping materials out of the landfill and reducing the need for new materials. The existing hardwood floors were also retained and refinished.

Another important impact of repurposing existing buildings is preventing the development of new land, preserving current land and curbing urban sprawl.  

Don’t just work together—build a relationship. Berry Architecture is a full-service architectural firm backed by 25 years of experience to bring your vision to life. Contact ustoday to get started.

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